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Australia Recognizes Crimes Committed By ISIS Against Assyrians As Genocide

Pictures attributed to the Islamic State (ISIS) show the 4th century Assyrian St. Behnam monastery being blown up.
In a historic and unprecedented move at the request of the Assyrian Universal Alliance, the Australian House of Representatives today recognized without objection that crimes committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) against Assyrians are 'genocide'.

The lengthy and comprehensive motion recognizes the "Assyrian people" as "an original and Indigenous people of Iraq and Syria". Therefore, this is the first instance internationally of a legislative body unequivocally recognizing that the crime of 'genocide' has been committed against Assyrians as the indigenous people of Iraq and Syria. The motion goes on to note that the crimes against humanity committed against Assyrians are on "religious, cultural and ethnic grounds" and urges "the United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide to make recommendations through the Secretary-General to the Security Council to recognise, prevent and halt crimes committed by ISIL".

Related: Timeline of ISIS in Iraq
Related: Attacks on Assyrians in Syria

The Assyrian Universal Alliance expresses its thanks to The Hon Chris Bowen MP, Shadow Treasurer for his commitment to the Assyrian people and courage in moving this important motion in the Australian House of Representatives. The Assyrian Universal Alliance also thanks all members of Parliament who supported Mr Bowen including The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs.

The formal text of the motion is as follows:

MR BOWEN: To move--That this House:

(1) recognises that the Assyrian people, who are Christian by religion, are an original and Indigenous people of Iraq and Syria;

(2) is concerned by the ethnic, religious and cultural cleansing of the Assyrian people by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the systematic killings of Assyrian people and destruction of ancient Assyrian cities, churches and artefacts;

(3) Acknowledges the targeted killings and kidnappings of Assyrian clergy and ISIL's destruction of a recorded 45 Assyrian churches between June and July 2014;

(4) acknowledges the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of Assyrians since the invasion by ISIL in Iraq and Syria, notably in Mosul and the Nineveh Plains in Iraq and the Khabour region in Syria (Hassaka province);

(5) declares that ISIL's treatment of the Assyrian people is a gross violation of human rights under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

(6) notes that on 24 March 2015, the Iraqi Council of Ministers, under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister, Haider Al-Abadi, issued a unanimous declaration condemning the crimes committed by ISIL (Daash) against civilians, Kurds, Christians, Yazidis and Shabak as crimes of genocide;

(7) further notes that the United States State Department and the European Parliament has recently recognised ISIL atrocities as genocide;

(8) associates with the recent remarks of United States Secretary of State John Kerry, describing ISIL as 'genocidal by self-proclamation, by ideology, and by actions';

(9) urges the United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide to make recommendations through the Secretary-General to the Security Council to recognise, prevent and halt crimes committed by ISIL;

(10) recognises and condemns the:

(a) ongoing genocidal conduct of ISIL against Indigenous minorities in Iraq, including the Assyrian peoples on religious, cultural and ethnic grounds;

(b) forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of Assyrians and other minority communities following the ISIL takeover of north-western Iraq;

(c) systematic killing, taking of hostages and human trafficking of minorities; and

(d) destruction of ancient Assyrian cities and holy places;

(11) reaffirms the rights of Christian and other minorities of Iraq to live in peace and freedom and calls for all steps to be taken to ensure that members of the affected communities can live in freedom in Iraq;

(12) notes the aspirations of the Assyrian people for the establishment of an autonomous region in the Nineveh Plains and welcomes the in principle agreement of the Iraqi Government to this; and

(13) calls for the rights of Assyrian Christians to be respected in the post ISIL makeup of Iraq and Syria.

The presentation can be viewed here.


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